Fantastic Fest

Over eight jam-packed days, the /Film team saw dozens of amazing, crazy, and unforgettable movies at Fantastic Fest 2018. The largest genre film festival in the United States is always a good time, but this year was especially wonderful. The programming was just killer: a diverse blend of major blockbusters, wild indies, and international oddities. Even the films we didn’t like were worth seeing for the sake of conversation.

But now, we’re ready to close to the book on this festival. We’re ready to hand out a batch of useless awards that nonetheless come from the bottom of hearts. Jacob Hall, Matt Donato, and Marisa Mirabal are here to award the best, weirdest, and wildest movies of Fantastic Fest 2018.

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Is there anything we can do?His words tremble as officer Funes stands bleeding, quickly losing his grasp on reality in front of a paranormal investigator. As quickly as the word noescapes her lips, a monstrous hand violently reaches out from the wall and breaks her neck.

Its this kind of hopelessness, fear, and quick shock value that drives director Demián Rugnas film, Terrified, full-throttle with its viciousness. Utilizing a group narrative structure that translates as an urban legend filled with multiple supernatural encounters, Terrified is an astute addition to the horror genre that strategically plays with tropes like a seasoned puppet master.

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Girls With Balls Review

Olivier Afonso’s Girls With Balls doesn’t atone for the leery “females vs. males” horror normalization of exploitations past, but it is a slaughter-tastic midnight movie about volleyball vixens defending themselves from backwoods killers. Expect gallons of juicy redness, slack-jawed Deliverance imposters, and a campfire’s smokestack of slasher fun. Any fans of Dead & Breakfast out there? When the film’s spurs-janglin’ songster narration kicks in, you’ll be reminded of a very goofy and very familiar structure that holds novel throughout. It’s a slasher with teen spirit, a midnighter with malice, and the gory corpse counter that’s suggested – but a woman-driven riot act that reads genre representation the third degree? That aspect, oddly, lacks execution.

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may the devil take you review

Timo Tjahjanto’s May The Devil Take You has been – and will continue to be–- comparatively crowned Indonesia’s closest Evil Dead reimagining. Possessions, sub-level imprisonment, a house where pure malevolence resides and characters remain trapped. Tjahjanto wears his swankiest on-set suit and Sam Raimi mask, which at times can be quite convincing (a bit more Drag Me To Hell, even). Although, sequences can also remind of Joko Anwar’s Satan’s Slaves – which hits the streaming service Shudder on October 4 – despite Tjahjanto’s banshee scream lacking tonal subtlety. Anwar is to James Wan as Tjahjanto is to Raimi. Anwar a little more accomplished in his mission, but that doesn’t mean Tjahjanto fails to push audiences into his bloody brand of spiritual hijacking.

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halloween trailer

On the October 2, 2018 episode of /Film Daily, /Film editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta is joined by /Film managing editor Jacob Hall to talk about the best films he saw at Fantastic Fest 2018 in Austin Texas.

You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunes, Google Play, Overcast, Spotifyand all the popular podcast apps (here is the RSS URL if you need it).

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piercing review

Late at night, distraught, and coldly standing over the crib, Reed stares down at his baby girl while firmly gripping the ice-pick behind his back when he suddenly hears his wife calling him to bed. This opening scene exemplifies director Nicolas Pesce’s ability to draw an audience in and immediately set an unnerving tone. His debut film, The Eyes of My Mother, is an eerie black-and-white horror story filled with depravity and disturbing imagery that, like the anti-hero’s surgical knife, cuts deep into the comfort zones of an audience with razor-sharp precision. Inspired by the novel written by Ryû Murakami (author of Audition), Piercing takes a different approach by combining elements of horror and black comedy to deliver a macabre story about trauma as a catalyst for murder.

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Describing his time in Auschwitz, Jewish chemist and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi stated: “monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.” The line between man and monster is obscure and when a person is a witness to wrongdoing, their reactions reveal their true character.

Filled with supernatural folklore and social realism, Danish-Iranian director Ali Abbasi tackles the constructs of monsters and morality in his new film, Border.

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(Welcome to The Fantastic Fest Diaries, where we will be chronicling every single movie we see at the United States’ largest genre film festival.)

Welcome to Fantastic Fest, day eight. In this final diary entry: Terry Gilliam’s latest film finally arrives, a grisly true crime story set in the world of Norwegian black metal, and the long-awaited new film from the director of The Cabin in the Woods.

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Deadwax Review

“If there is no one there to hear the falling rain in the garden, what sound does it make?”  “If there’s nothing, it could be anything.”  This is Etta’s response to a philosophical question pertaining to the manipulation and dangers experienced from sound– a concept that is deviantly explored in Shudder’s upcoming series, Deadwax. Inspired by the Satanic Panic of the ‘70s where people demonized backmasking, a technique for playing the record backwards to reveal hidden messages, Shudder provides its own spin that will make audiences want to turn the volume way up. Read More »

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Fantastic Fest 2018 Recap - Day 7

(Welcome to The Fantastic Fest Diaries, where we will be chronicling every single movie we see at the United States’ largest genre film festival.)

Welcome to Fantastic Fest, day seven. In this diary entry: a hilarious and tragic examination of what happens when your 15 minutes of fame are up and a brutal, shallow look at the American nightmare.

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